Tom Friedman, the Pulitzer prize winning New York Times columnist, spoke at a charitable foundation luncheon I attended this week.
I like nonprofit events involving valet parking, nicely dressed people, fancy carpeting, a chandelier bedecked banquet room and colorful food. It’s incongruous, which is a fun word to use and spell.
In a lovely display of synchronicity the lights went out for a few moments, just as Friedman started talking about energy supply and demand. Everyone chuckled appreciatively while I thought about how different it would be to attend a picnic style fundraiser/lecture in a state park. Everyone could bring their own lunch and recycle their own trash and the audience could enjoy being cradled by the very Mother Nature they’re clamoring to save.
I filed my Great Thought away under G for Great, while Friedman continued with his “the earth is Hot, Flat and Crowded presentation,” which is also the title of his most recent book. The earth is hot because of climate change and it’s flat because smaller, poorer countries are getting the same technologies as the U.S. so the playing field is being leveled and it’s crowded because it’s crowded.
Friedman says there is a huge opportunity for the US to lead the way in establishing innovative energy technologies and we can gain respect and make money doing it. Viva the e-volution!
But wait. Friedman pointed out people get hurt in revolutions. So it’s not going to be easy or painless. As in a bunch of people might need to trade in their big SUV’s, jet skis and ATV’s for a pony and convince China to do the same. It’s do or die time. And we need to stop using the word green because green needs to be the norm not the exception. Blah, blah. Change your leaders not your lightbulbs. Blah, blah, blah. And we have enough time starting now, which is a quote he borrowed from some upbeat, optimistic but dead university professor.
Another engaging, sobering, repetitive, not entirely helpful argument by someone who lives in a house the size of a small town and has probably never carried a recycling bin to the curb or composted his coffee grounds.
Love the message – just not convinced that the messenger isn’t just trying to be one of the relevant, cool kids.